3Along with the Basij’s most recent name change, the Basij’sDeputy for Training (
) became theDeputy for Education and Training (
moavenat-e amoozesh va tarbiyat
), responsible solely for the organization’sideological and political training. Whereas before 2006only 33 percent of the activities of the Deputy for Trainingwere focused on IPT, with the transfer of the Basij’smilitary training component to the IRGC, this officefocused exclusively on IPT and management training.
Here again, organizational change went hand in hand withnew IPT policies. The proportion of training time devoted to IPT, especially for special Basijis, was increased from20 percent to 30 percent. Furthermore, Basijis had to takethe IPT programs every year during their membership,compared with every four years in the past.
According to IRGC employment regulations, Basijmembers are divided into three groups: regular, active,and special members. This classification is based on theirtraining, the level of their involvement with the Basij, and their ideological commitment. According to my estimate,there are currently more than three million regularmembers of the Basij, 800,000 active members, and 200,000special members.Regular Basij members are those who only join the Basij,pass basic training, and become integrated. They usuallyhave little connection with Basij bases. Active Basijmembers are regular members who have engaged in at leastsix months of continued activity, passed complementarytraining, and cooperated with the IRGC in accomplishingmissions.Special Basij members (also known as honoraryRevolutionary Guards) are those regarded as havingthe military and ideological qualities of a RevolutionaryGuard, and are technically members of the IRGC. They aredesignated as such after having passed “guard” (
)special training courses, both military and ideological; theyare committed to serving the IRGC full time, and are thecore members of the Basij organization.
According to the Basij constitution, ideological-political training is the responsibility of the Office of theRepresentative of the Supreme Leader (ORSL) within theBasij. The ORSL designs the programs, prepares the syllabi,writes textbooks, and trains IPT educators. Additionally,in collaboration with the Basij Deputy for Education and Training, it is responsible for implementing IPT programs.Within the ORSL, the Center for Islamic Researchwas established in Qom to produce and publish all thetextbooks and pamphlets needed for all IPT programsin the IRGC and the Basij. The Center also oversees thecontents of any publications published by the IRGC and the Basij to ensure that they are in accordance with Islamand with the political ideology of the regime.
IPT trainers in the Basij can be divided into three groups:organizational trainers, nonorganizational trainers, and invited trainers.
Organizational trainers are employed as full-time special Basij members, and their job is solelyto teach the IPT course. A majority of this group, whoconstitute IPT’s most important human resources, havehigh school diplomas or less, and have only passed shortcourses of ideological training (180 hours) in Qom and received a certificate from the Basij.
Some have studied atthe Basij College for Research and Analysis (
majma-e barresi va tahlil-e basij
), branches of which have been established inevery province in Iran. This “community college,” which iscontrolled by the ORSL, offers four semesters (two years)of education for Basijis who want to become IPT teachers.Founded in 1994–95, it is very similar to Shahid MahallatiUniversity, which serves a similar function for the IRGC.Its graduates specialize in ideological or political trainingand are sent throughout the country to teach IPT coursesto other Basijis. According to the ideological-politicaldeputy chief of the Basij, there are 30,000 organizationalIPT trainers
in the Basij,
10,000 of whom have graduated from the Basij College for Research and Analysis.
Nonorganizational IPT trainers are members of the Basijand the IRGC who are not official educators, but onaccount of their rank teach some IPT courses. Some areBasijis or Revolutionary Guards commanders who areselected to discuss political issues with elite Basijis such asstudents, professors, engineers, and doctors. And invited trainers are usually connected to conservative groups and communities such as the Imam Khomeini institution, runby Ayatollah Mesbah-e Yazdi (a radical cleric believed to be close to Ahmadinejad); his disciples have taughtmany IPT courses, especially in the guardianship (
program.To improve the political knowledge of IPT trainers, anetwork of political guides (
) was established to streamline the ideological training in the IRGC and the Basij and to supervise the teachers. This network,which falls under the political bureau of the IRGC, wastemporarily established in 1996 and formally recognized in 2002. Political guides are the highest-ranked of IPTtrainers and teach political courses, while other IPTtrainers are usually responsible for the religious and Islamic courses. This reveals the priority given to politicalissues versus religious ones within IPT programs.According to the chief of the political bureau of the IRGC,the Basij had more than 8,000 political guides as of August